Forging Lifelong Memories – Our Trip to the White House Kitchen Garden

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Looking back on your childhood memories, you’ll quickly realize that a lot
of them are centered around school. It is no wonder then, that as educators
we try so hard to make as many positive memories as we can for our students
each year. On September 30, 2014, my 4th-grade students forged memories that will surely last a lifetime with a visit to the White House Garden.

Visiting Washington D.C. is in itself an amazing and iconic American
experience. However, being invited to enter the White House and tour the
First Family’s Garden is something most people only dream of. In fact, very
few people are allowed the opportunity to actually do just this. So when we received the news they could send a class of students there,
you can only imagine the excitement that this once in a lifetime
opportunity ignited.

Curated by the White House Staff, students were invited onto the White
House property where they were able to explore the kitchen garden and learn
about the rich history behind it all. The student’s faces gleamed with smiles of excitement as they asked questions and took the whole experience in. Their smiles were mirrored by those of the White House staff and secret service men who escorted the group, as they were delighted to take-in the excitement and happiness of their small visitors from New York City. And as if on cue to add a fairytale ending to the story, who should come to visit the garden at the same time? Sunny, the First Family’s adorable new dog whose visit made such an impression to the kids that their smiles stretched even further!

 

Interested in applying for a tour of your own? Find the details here!

Want to build your own kitchen garden? Check this list out

(adapted from an article I wrote for our District’s Newsletter)

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Free Educational Apps – Act Quickly!

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I found these today, thanks to http://techinspecialed.com

Please share with any speech therapists or educators who may benefit from this!

(Quoted from https://www.facebook.com/techinspecialed/info)

Not Sure How Long this Will Stay Free ***$40 Speech App gone FREE*** (39.99–>Free) Articulation with The Speech Wizard app is an innovative speech therapy tool to help children develop their articulation skills. This app includes: sound discrimination activities, flashcards, consonant blends, word, phrase, & sentence levels, data tracking, and a record button. It has been created for speech therapists, parents, and teachers to effectively teach children articulation skills in an engaging and motivating way. We use strategic sound sequence patterns with key target words and sound discrimination activities to help ensure positive outcomes.

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***$20 Speech App Gone Free*** (19.99–>Free) Social Skill Builder Full is an app that uses videos to teach appropriate behaviour and social expectations in a variety of situations for preschool, elementary and high school age students. Users are shown a video clip and then are asked a series of multiple choice questions about what happened in the clip. Correct answers turn green and there is a short animation along with a verbal reinforcement. A mistake causes the question to be re asked. I thought the app used some good common examples that most students could relate to. It would definitely be helpful for those with ASD who have difficulty “reading” subtle social cues and knowing what is expected of them. – Dianne http://bit.ly/PKwZqI

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***FREE app of the day*** (2.99–>Free) Neon Tiki Tribe: Bullies Written in a Dyslexia-friendly font, this title, which teaches children how to handle bullies, features bright colors, adventure, the Neon Tiki Tribe, and a review at the end for parents to create a teachable moment with parents with kids. Let this app help your child become a T.I.K.I. (Thoughtful Intelligent Kind Individual)! – Angie http://bit.ly/1lOeoqA

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***Free Price Drop Alert*** (3.99–>Free) Preschool Genius Math Booster Zoo Complete. 12 richly rendered games. Play with your zoo animal friends while learning basic math skills. More than just great graphics the interesting gameplay engages kids to have fun while learning about numbers. http://bit.ly/1lrqzdg

 

***Free Price Drop Alert*** (2.99–>Free) Toy School – Letters (Educational Game for Kids to Learn Alphabet and Letters). Learn to write letters, match words with missing first letters, find animals and food that start with different letters and do much more creative tasks with TOY SCHOOL teachers. Time to play and learn the first letters!

Kids Get Free Gifts With Summer Reading Programs

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Summer is a time when kids get to kick back and enjoy their carefree days, making memories that will surely last a lifetime. However, not being in school for 2 consecutive months, also has a huge downfall, more specifically the “summer slide.” Experts agree that those children who read during the summer acquire reading skills, while those who do not often slide backward. The good news is that research indicates that reading just six books during the summer may keep a struggling reader from regressing. The trick is to make sure these books are on the child’s independent reading levels, so that they are not too easy or too hard. Below I have outlined a few summer reading programs that offer kids incentives to continue to read over the summer, avoiding the summer slide and getting rewarded all in one!

Barnes and Nobles Summer Reading Program – Imagination’s Destination

Kids earn a FREE BOOK in three simple steps:

Step 1. Read any 8 books and record them in the Reading Journal PDF. Step 2.Bring the completed Reading Journal to your local B&N store.

Step 3. Choose a FREE BOOK from our selection on the Reading Journal list at the store… Enjoy reading!

Pottery Barn Summer Reading Challenge

Students who read all summer long and log it on their recording sheet, can visit a local Pottery Barn store and pick up a free book!

Half-Price Books Summer Reading Program – Feed Your Brain

Kids 14 and under can earn free Half Price Books gift cards if they read for at least 300 minutes from June 1 to July 31, 2014.

TD Bank Summer Reading Program

With this reading program students who complete the program by reading 10 books, earn $10 free! This summer reading program runs June 1 – August 31.

Chuck E. Cheese Reading Reward Certificates

On this site are many different rewards certificates that earn children 10 free play tokens! The reading certificate requires students to read each day for two weeks.

Peace, Love, Summer – Keeping Kids Well Fed Over Summer Break

While summer is an exciting time for students and parents alike, for many families that rely on free and reduced lunch programs, it also brings with it a sense of fear and anxiety as it also brings these programs to an end.  During the school year, 21 million school children receive free or reduced-price lunch — but during summer, 90% of those 21 million kids have limited or no access to meals they receive when school is in session. 

ConAgra Foods partnered with Kid President, Robby Novak, to inspire Americans to take action so that all kids can “be awesome this summer.”

The ConAgra Foods Foundation is donating the monetary equivalent of one meal to Feeding America for every view, like, or share of this video through July 31st!

While I am by NO means a supporter of Con Agra and their #gmo policies, feeding kids is something I can get behind. SO VIEW, LIKE, AND SHARE!!!! You’ll be helping to feed kids across this fine country of ours by doing so.

 

 

Beware the Summer Slide! How to Keep Students Engaged in Math During the Summer

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Summer is just around the bend, and I know this because my classroom is slowly starting to resemble a sauna more and more. With only a few short weeks of the school year left, it is time to start proactively planning how to keep your students engaged in math practice over the summer. Let’s be honest, that is never going to be an easy task. Sun, beach, pool, camp and multiplication. It just doesn’t have that same appeal does it? However, we all know too well the dangers of the “summer slide” so it’s up to us to do our best to combat this inevitable evil. Research shows that summer learning loss in Math is an issue that impacts every student, with students losing an average of 2-3 months of math comprehension each summer. Yikes!

Luckily however, this difficult conundrum does have an easy and free solution. So what is this panacea to the problems all teachers face when summer rolls around and student are set free? Well it is technology of course! Below you will find some web based strategies to keep your kids eagerly practicing their math facts all summer long.

Sumdog – A game-based free website that students can practice their math skills in a fun and engaging format. If you haven’t read my previous review of this website, take a look here! Your students will be begging you to let them go online and practice their skills, what’s easier than that?

Tenmarks – FREE THIS SUMMER! (a $29.95 value) All it takes is 20 minutes, three times a week on this site, and your students will be able to reverse summer learning loss. Go to the site now and download the brochure, in English or Spanish, and disseminate this powerful information to your parents! Before you say goodbye to the kids for the summer, get them on the site playing to get them hooked and keep them wanting more!

XtraMath– You know that I cannot sing enough praise for this site and the wonders it has worked to improve math fluency in my classroom. While it is not a game-based learning site, it still remains an invaluable resource for improving automaticity of math. (See my previous blog post here to learn more about this). While the kids might not be jumping up and down to do more XtraMath, I propose that you keep it going during the summer. Allow students to complete XtraMath first, earning them time on one of the other GBL sites. Since it only takes 5-10 minutes tops, they will be able to get through the review fast, making it a win-win for everyone! In your teacher account, you have the option to print out personalized Summer Flyers for each of your registered students. So hit print and keep those kids who haven’t mastered all their facts rocking and rolling! They’ll math scores later on in the year will teach them that hard work does indeed pay off!

If you have any other summer resources, please share! Enjoy the last few weeks of this school year, I know we are!

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Free App – iPad apps for speech! #apraxiaawarenessday

In celebration of Apraxia Awareness Day there are several FREE high value iPad apps for speech! (US And Australia!)

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Here are a few high valued apps for FREE today — available for iPad only (reg. $23.99)! Multimedia Speech Pathology is celebrating Apraxia Awareness Day on May 14 by setting these apps for FREE FOR TODAY ONLY! Both apps are available in US English and Australian English.

http://www.survivingateacherssalary.com/free-ipad-app-speech-sounds-for-kids-and-speech-sounds-on-cue-reg-24-each/

#whatthekidsneedtoknow – How to Be More Awesome!

Need to be inspired? Look no further!

(Plus, who out there doesn’t need a reason to dance?)

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If you aren’t familiar with Kid President (@iamkidpresident) and his incredibly inspiring and humorous videos, now it the time to cuddle up with your laptop and visit his YouTube site, as it is long overdue! His YouTube Channel, SoulPancake is full of incredibly inspiring videos that have been enjoyed by millions. With so many great videos it’s hard to choose a favorite, but I would say that ‘A Pep Talk’ is definitely one of my top 3!

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I recently shared with my students this video: Kid President’s Letter To A Person On Their First Day Here

 At the end of the video, Kid President invites the viewer to share with him their own thoughts on #whatthekidsneedtoknow. He invites us to compile a list of things that make an awesome person, and share it with the world to give more people a reason to dance! What’s not to love about this assignment? It gets students to focus on the things they want to see more in themselves and others, while also reflecting on what things in life are really important to happiness and survival … DANCING AND CORNDOGS!

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In groups, my students set out to share their own life lessons to a person on their first day here. The first step, was compiling a list of at least five life lessons they wanted to focus on as a group. The second step, was to create a storyboard for their multimedia presentation. The last step, using Domo powered by GoAnimate, was to produce a cartoon video depicting #whatthekidsneedtoknow according to them! (If you want to learn more about Domo, visit this past blog post of mine).

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The following are links with what they came up with. I may be biased, but I think they did a rather AWESOME job!

Group One

Group Two

Group Three 

Group Four

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Exciting News: A Kid President Show is coming to the HUB network!